Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Self-Educated Toilet Woman


Framed skylight with the interior panelling completed, outlet is for the marine light for the loft bed.

Wow. I've never been so involved with toilets as I am today. I mean, yuck, right? Poop, pee, excrement, faeces, urine, voiding and other more unseemly words. "Little Things" and "Big Things" as they were called by my ladylike mother in the house I grew up in, shortened to "Lickuns" and "Bickuns" by my brothers, who in that manner peculiar to miniature males, found speculating on what exactly a visitor performed in our bathroom a matter of thigh-slapping, snorting and falling-down-helpless hilarity. One even went so far as to take penny bets as to - ahem - outcomes.

It was extremely challenging to be even remotely feminine in that house of testosterone and it was mostly a case of join 'em. But I did draw the line at guessing or betting at the specifics of bathroom excretions of aunts and uncles and other assorteds.

There is a point to this post. Yeah. Gordon-the-Gift had sent me trotting around to investigate composting toilets. There is very little on line in the way of information on these, as pertaining to Newfoundland anyway: unheard of devices. There are none on the island, I've been told. What most people do with an "An Teachín" such as mine, is sneak in an old oil tank underneath the house as a catchment type of system and then don't tell anybody. Meaning the authorities or Environment Canada or local municipalities. And they always get away with it, I was informed, so what is this nonsense about composting toilets, hardy-har-har, when you could dig in an old oil tank and use that as a sorta septic system.

For a minute or two I was swayed there. Yeah, no one would know. But I would. And the town council trusts me to do what I promised on the permit. And seriously, you're either all green and enviro-tree-huggy or this po-faced hypocrite getting away with some nasty behaviour and all that shouting about groundwater and leakage and seepage you did would be just another emperor wearing no clothes.

So I tackled the problem head(sorry)on and went to the manager of Home Depot and asked for help. And guess what, they were bloody wonderful and we all talked to the manufacturer down in in the USA, and found out all there is to know about composting toilets, which are odour-free with a tank that sits underneath the cabin with an outside hand crank you turn every day - to mix her up goodlike - and an airvent that brings in the air to activate the bacteria that does the job and it all condenses down to a drawer that eventually fills up with powder-like compost for the garden.

There was a special discounted web price on the toilet plus shipping, and the HD people dropped 15% off this price and there was no shipping charge on top of this and it will be here in three weeks

It's still pretty expensive - for Thomas Crapper's big invention.


I never, ever, get over the view from the covered deck of An Teachín.

20 comments:

  1. Lots of snickers and giggles. Glad to read this cheerful post about such an uplifting subject.

    You didn't say how the container is cleaned out? Does one use the product for growing trees or anything?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 20CW - it is a snickery giggley kind of thingie, isn't it?
    It goes down to a drawer full of light powder with no smell. You scatter it about or dig it in.
    Zero footprint on this baby I'm building.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  3. I see that on second reading. But you can't use human compost on veggies, can you?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here is some more info, 20CW:


    "A composting toilet simply breaks down nasty, smelly poop into dirt - yep, soil, and nutrient rich soil at that. It basically works like most composting processes through the assistance of aerobic microbes that oxidize the carbon in waste to carbon dioxide, and the evaporation of water content through heat. The heat created in the process also helps to destroy pathogens and any disease.

    What's left over after 3 - 6 months of composting is around 10% of the original volume and a product that can be safely spread on your garden."

    I will post pics (eventually!).

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds brilliant. I'm sure you'll let us know how well it's working. Minus the sniggery scatological detail of course....

    ReplyDelete
  6. So, that's the view you get when you are cranking the toilet? Not bad and a good way to hone your biceps.

    ReplyDelete
  7. There's a good book on composting human manure, Humanure by Joe Jenkins. You absolutely can use the end result on veggies if properly treated. In fact, urine can be used directly, it is clean and an excellent source of nitrogen.

    So far the composting toilets I have used have been less than ideal comfort-wise. I hope yours is better. The best one I have used was extremely simple, based on instructions from Jenkins' book, but I doubt the Dept of Environment would approve.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, I found all of this very interesting, plus you're amusing! I'm coming back.

    Jody

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hmmmm - well....I can often visualise a scene from the past you so evocatively describe for us, WWW - this time I could smell it! ;-)

    "lickuns & bickuns"....LOL!!!
    My late (Northern Irish) partner told me, I recall, that his childhood version of bickuns was "big achs" (the sound of efforts being made?) LOL!

    Himself tells me that his brother used to call toilet doings "grunt-pew", and "grunt-pew-hard" .

    Wonderful view there - worthy of lots of big "ahhhhs!"

    ReplyDelete
  10. What happens to the e-coli? Curious and too doggone lazy to research it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm super proud that you didn't opt for the illegal oil tank. You are a woman of honor.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Marcia:
    Funny you should mention, GtheG and I were discussing this today and we will prob locate the tank behind the cabin so view will be like the backside of the building.....
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  13. Annie:
    Are you referring to that splendid outhouse you built with the windows?
    Is that part of your new house, btw?
    This toilet is a Sun-mar product and steeply priced for what you get.
    I will be curious as to its efficiency and efficacy.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  14. T:
    As long as the Big Ahs are confined to the deck and the views.
    Couldn't resist, sorry!!!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sharon:
    No time for the e-coli to get started as the incubation needs to take hold, right?
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you Nora, it would have destroyed my feelings about the place and I would have felt incredibly hypocritical and shameful.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  17. And there's me worrying, what with you not posting for a few days and all that talk of depression, gregarious loners, and suspension bridges...and all the while you had your head in toilets!

    ReplyDelete
  18. RJA:
    Not really depression more like feeling a need to really isolate but knowing WHERE it could lead, I am wary of isolating even though I love it...
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete

Some of you are having trouble, I've removed captcha and verification so we'll see how that goes. My apologies. Blogger is putting up far too many roadblocks. Thanks for the emails alerting me.
wisewebwomanatgmail.com